This is a threaded discussion page for the International Stuttering Awareness Day Online Conference paper,
Some suggestions for teachers of children who stammer by Cherry Hughes (United

Hello, Cherry

From: Lou Heite
Date: 10/2/98
Time: 7:29:38 AM
Remote Name:


Hi there! Your article is a very useful synopsis of recommendations for teachers. As you know, the ways
teachers can affect the progress of their pupils who stutter is deeply interesting to me. I am going to pass the
address along to some people who probably will be interested. 

I would like to know how BSA's educational program for teachers is progressing. Have you been able to
hold any weekend sessions yet? If so, how have they been recieved? 

Looking forward to hearing from you 

Lou Heite

Re: Hello, Cherry

From: Cherry Hughes
Date: 10/19/98
Time: 10:25:33 AM
Remote Name:


Hi Lou, I have replied twice to you, but they are not getting through, so this goes via the BSA Office in

My courses are proving to be of particular interest to the Early Years staff, probably because of the
explosion in provision of late. Secondary teachers are less keen, probably a combination of pressures and
lack of awareness. The most fertile area however, is turning out to be the universities, although a course to
their teacher trainees takes ages to set up because they wish to talk(interview) with me, and discuss
strategies. Saturday courses are not likely to be possible, although my evidence on this is from other

I agree with your remarks to Chuck Goldman, stammering does exhibit itself and we do need to give
teachers special strategies to support the student without labelling or embarrassing the student. I do think that
student involvement should go as far as is possible, and recently I tested this with a teacher who has found
that the open discussion with the student, who was 15, really broke down barriers and eased the climate of
the classroom , and one hopes the school. 

Best Wishes, 


teacher suggestions

From: chuck goldman
Date: 10/3/98
Time: 12:57:01 PM
Remote Name:


You've provided a useful summary for the teacher to follow in regard to much in-class activity that takes
place. A lot of the suggestions that you make is and/or should be commonly practiced by concerned teachers
and much of it may apply to making oral demands on any child. The problem for me is that all of these
suggestions imply that that there is some sort of allowance or special behavior that the teacher is engaged in
on behalf of the stutterer. An astute child might pick this up with catasatrophic results. Where possible,
might it not be an alternative approach to talk directly to the child about the fear of classroom speaking
demands in tandem with the school clinician?" Why can't a more direct approach such as team teaching with
the school clinician a lesson on "speech disorders", be instituted?" In sum, any class lesson that stresses the
fragility of speech, the normalcy of disfluencies, and the role of listener reactions may help in the
desensitization of the stutterer and the sensitizing of the class to the various frailties we all encounter in the
communication process. 

Is it your experience that many school based clinicians are fearful of exacerbating stuttering in children and
therefore choose not to acquire skills or attempt to treat children in school? Is it also in your experience that
the difficulty in engaging parental participation directly in the process leads to discouraging results? 

Re: teacher suggestions

From: LH
Date: 10/4/98
Time: 8:57:11 AM
Remote Name:


Chuck, one of the big problems with any attempts to deal with fluency, or the lack of it, in the classroom is
that there is virtually no research that actually examines the interaction between common classroom practices
and a child's progress in managing his or her speech. Moreover, schools vary in how they view their
responsibilities and the way they do or do not encourage cooperation among faculty members, special
education specialists of all sorts, and individual students and their families. 

Surely the best situation is one in which the teacher, therapist, parents, AND CHILD get together fairly
regularly and assess what's working and what isn't. However, I've been a teacher and I know very well that
what happens all too often is that the teacher and the specialist chat over lunch, maybe; the parents come in
for ten minutes on parent's consultation day; and the child will either agree to almost anything in order to try
to please the grownups, or will resist almost everything in order to prove that he doesn't have to please

Okay, that is a little exaggerated but not much. There are studies, though, that show that teachers who have
had formal training similar to what Cherry has developed are on the whole more positive and realistic about
what a child who stutters can be expected to do in the classroom, and will be more likely to choose
"stuttering friendly" teaching methods. 

As far as treating stuttering as if it were something that had to be handled somewhat "differently" in the
classroom, well face it: if it were not that way pretty much everywhere, we wouldn't be having this
conference. It is a difference. It needn't be a bad difference, but pretending that it is anything else is ignoring
a pretty important reality. The kids who stutter know it, their classmates know it, you and I know it from
our own experience. I strongly favor doing everything possible to demystify the nature of that difference for
the teachers who will form the child's working environment for the first twelve or more years of his life
outside the home. 

Lou H.

Re: teacher suggestions

From: Cherry Hughes
Date: 10/19/98
Time: 10:26:19 AM
Remote Name:


Hi Chuck, 

I do agree in the need for student involvement, and also the desensitising of the stammering by
interventionist strategies of personal and social education in the classroom. Our problem in the UK is that
schools do not have speech and language therapists on site, they are based in clinics and collaborative work
beteen teachers and therapists is still in the ealy stages of development. Teachers should by now be very
conscious of the need to avoid embarrassment and/or labelling for every child and when using any specific
strategy to meet a need should also include other pupils in the same strategy so that there does not appear to
be any singling out. 

I think that teachers do need to be given simple strategies to use and adapt within their own practice, and
sadly I think that many teachers have not really thought about oral language , either their own, or that of their
students. I feel that respect and acceptance of the varying ways in which people communicate through
speech needs to be addressed as having the significance of written language, with a school policy, for
example, in operation as a bench mark of good practice. 

Best Wishes 


Stuttering and children

From: Suzanne Arne
Date: 10/10/98
Time: 10:53:29 AM
Remote Name:


I happened to be surfing the web when I found this website. I would like to help a student in my class who
stutters. He has gone to a psycholo gist for almost 2 years and doesn't qualify for additional services this
year. I would like to help him with his learning difficulty but am at a loss as to techniques I can employ. Any
suggestions or books that might help me to help him help himself. He has gotten very little assistance if any
up to this point! My e mail address is: Thanks !

Re: Stuttering and children

From: LH
Date: 10/10/98
Time: 6:07:09 PM
Remote Name:


Dear Suzanne: First, go to the Stuttering Homepage and give yourself a couple days to read it. There is
material there that will answer many of your questions. 

I have been in the same situation that you are in now more than once. Your openness and encouragement can
mean a lot to this child, if you can gain his confidence. It may take a while to reach him but the rewards of
doing so can be wonderful. 

Good luck! 

Lou H.

Re: Sttuttering and children

From: Cherry Hughes
Date: 10/19/98
Time: 10:27:08 AM
Remote Name:


Hello Suzanne, 

I think that your concern and support are very important for the student who has now find a safe haven in
the school. This will relieve much of the fear of stuttering which adds tremendously to the problem. I agree
with Lou Heite that the Stuttering Homepage is a great place to start as all the organisations in the field are
listed and you can get materials and video films from them. 

It might be helpful for you to watch a video with the student and talk with him about how he feels he can
best be helped. If he is receiving help from a clinician then I think that you need to discuss with the student
an approach to the clinician so that you can all work together, with family as well, if that is appropriate. 

I am sure that your support and understanding will already be bringing benefits and improving the student's
confidence and self esteem. 

Best Wishes, 

from Cherry 

Teacher Conference

From: K. Chmela
Date: 10/13/98
Time: 10:14:57 PM
Remote Name:


I work in the USA as a private fluency specialist. I meet with the teachers of all of the children I work with
at the start of the school year. One very helpful strategy I have used has been to engage the child's
participation in the meeting (when age appropriate). I have the child brainstorm at a previous therapy session
ideas related to the following topics: "What I want my teacher to know about stuttering...."What I want my
teacher to know about my stuttering.." "What might help me in the classroom." These meetings which
include the child have been very successful. The teachers are often amazed at the child'a ability and
willingness to communicate some of the information regardiing their speech. I have found that some of my
clients (as they moved into the highschool) began writing letters to their teachers independently or meeting
with them to let them know what they needed in order to feel comfortable communicating in school. I
enjoyed your article. Thank you.

Re: Teacher Conference

From: Cherry Hughes
Date: 10/20/98
Time: 5:47:17 AM
Remote Name:


I think that the idea of a child talking with the class is an interesting and helpful iidea, but would need first
real understanding and consent by the child, and effective collaboration betweeen teacher and therapist. 

In the UK that collaboration is only at an early stage of development, and most children are seen in a clinic. 

What age do you feel it to be appropriate ? Do you think it is a situation which most teachers can handle ? I
think many would finds if difficult, and it would be important that the school climate was supportive. 

I think that strategies for personal and social development are now well developed in the UK schools and
against that background a confident teacher of PSE should be able to handle that presentation effectively. 

Thanks for your comments. The idea is certainly helpful and with all the factors in place could work very

suggestions for teachers

From: Steve Grubman-Black
Date: 10/21/98
Time: 9:25:16 AM
Remote Name:


Thank you for these suggestions. Currently, I am working with a youngster who stutters; we are in the
stabilization phase, and his teacher has some difficulty with her own patience. For me as one who dedicates
my work to the specialty of stuttering, I like a strong partnership among the individual who stutters, the
family, and the teacher. Last year went well in this regard. This year is more of a challenge. You have
written a clear and nonthreatening summary of suggestions, which I will use during our next conference at
the school. Steve 

Teacher Conference

From: K.Chmela
Date: 10/29/98
Time: 1:02:28 PM
Remote Name:


In response to your question about having the child talk with the class, the answer is that I only do that
activity when the child feels it is something that they want to do. Usually it takes place after much
communication with the classroom teacher. Many children have actually asked if I would come to the school
and help them teach their class about stuttering. I think in the United States it is more common to discuss
problems openly as a way of helping an individual deal with them more effectively. Bill Murphy (Purdue
University) has discussed the "classroom sharing" and the handout for that I believe is posted in the
Stuttering Homepage. I have had children tell me that it was the best thing they ever did..once they talked
about it they didn't worry about "stuttering" or "not stuttering" in the classroom. I would not do it if the
child did not want to or if the teacher was uncomfortable with the prospect of it. I have observed it to be a
tremendous desensitization activity. I have talked with the classes of students that were in kindergarten on
up. Most of the time the teenagers prefer to handle such a thing on their own. I had one client, age 15, who
wrote her teachers a letter about her speech problem. She asked them if they would read it to the class and
they did. She is much more comfortable this year in school and is even reading aloud and answering
questions now. Great communicating with you, Cheryl. K. Chmela